The highest achieving people don't get ahead in business and life behaving like the people around them. Study the daily habits of the happiest, healthiest and wealthiest people you know and often you'll find they're really good at one little thing: Consistency. Whether it's in thought, word, or deed, people who rise to the top tend to practice the right things day after day. Here are the simple rituals nearly two dozen successful executives point to for their success.
1. Get great sleep.
"Just like anything else you want to do well, you have to invest in sleep. A great night's sleep isn't something that just happens for everyone. For me, it's meant obsessing about my bed and linens, and really giving myself a few extra hours before and after bedtime so I can decompress and get that proper night's rest."
--Lee Mayer, Havenly, provider of online interior design and decorating servicesco-founder and CEO at
2. Take a walk.
"In a bad mood? Take a walk, you'll feel better. In a good mood? Take a walk, then you'll be in a great mood. Need to think? Take a walk, you'll be inspired. Have a headache? Take a walk and calm down. Get in a fight? Take a walk and bring the other person. Walks make everything better."
--Josh BrainjoltSowin, CEO of online publisher
3. Save your focus work for earlier (or later).
"If I really need to focus in on a task, I typically don't try to get it done during business hours. My time in the office is used to meet with my team, share feedback, and gather insight from them to help me do my job better. I usually tackle the deeper tasks in the quiet of my home office either at night or early in the morning, when I'm mentally fresh, uninterrupted, and undistracted."
--Eric N. Shapiro, ArcTouch, which designs and develops custom mobile appsco-founder and CEO of
4. Listen to your audio books at 1.5 speed.
"Too many books, too little time, right? Audiobooks let me read while I drive and do dishes, and speeding those books up lets me read more while I drive and do dishes. I find that 1.5x speed is a bit slower than necessary, but 2x is too fast to understand. I asked Audible if they would create a 1.75x option, and they said no. So while I'm holding out hope for the optimal book speed, 1.5x will have to do."
--Abraham Piper, founder and chief creative officer of online publisher Brainjolt
5. Banish screens from your bedroom.
"My number one rule in our house is 'No TV in the bedroom.' We moved into a new house last year and there was one built into the wall in the bedroom and we removed it and had a hole in the wall for at least six months because I was so adamant."
--Jesse Draper, general partner at Halogen Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund focused on female founded consumer technology companies
6. Live by your calendar.
"It's so easy to be distracted that I try to even schedule time to reply to specific emails, time to do lead gen, time for strategizing, etc. It's a trick I learned early in my sales career. If it's not on my calendar, it doesn't exist."
--Rich DiTieri, CEO of Startup Institute
7. Create small sparks of joy.
"This can be achieved in many ways such as listening to a favorite song, reading a fave blog, walking my dog, etc. Starting off the day excited, grateful, and inspired sets the right tone for a successful day."
--Katie Ervin & SmithKemerling, CMO of digital marketing agency
8. Connect with nature on a daily basis.
"Our office has an outdoor space in which we have a lot of bird feeders and bird life, as well as a garden and a koi pond. Everyone in the office has a daily role in feeding the birds and the fish in the pond, and tending the garden to connect with nature."
9. Walk around the office with pad and pen in hand.
"[I] record notes of conversations with the partners whom I come in contact with. I review the notes to gather ideas for organizing and prioritizing work schedules."
10. Answer customer emails.
"Since the company is a rather new startup, I personally answer emails from the website so I can keep in touch with customers and gather feedback on new product launches. In addition, I share the emails with all employees so that they may see how corporate is responding to customers and establish customer service policies."
--Tom De Vesto, founder and CEO of Como Audio
11. Look for trends.
"I scour the internet for new and unique furniture designs to gather ideas for name badge innovations and styling trends."
--Marla Kott, CEO of Imprint Plus, which designs, develops, manufactures, and distributes name badges, plates, signage, and other business-branding tools
12. Be a mentor.
"I reach out to staff members on a daily basis to encourage them to discuss work-related challenges and mentor them on developing solutions that can be solved as a team with management. The goal is to have employees feel comfortable unmasking problems that may arise in the workplace and bringing them to the attention of their boss, so that they know that there is a personal interest in what they do and helping them to perform successfully by daily mentoring."
--Richard Wood, CEO of Plaza Construction
13. Wake up early and exercise.
"I have a morning routine that consists of rising early and heading to the gym to work out. This helps clear my mind and lets me confidently take on the busy work schedule that lies ahead. More importantly, it improves my health, providing the stamina for to sometimes put in 15 to 18 hour-plus quality workdays."
--Steve Janjic, CEO of Amercanex, a commodities exchange founded to provide a transparent, neutral and non-manipulated marketplace for institutional cannabis-industry participants, including growers and retailers
14. Sleep with your phone in a different room.
"It seems like there is never enough time to catch up on emails, online groups, etc., and I found myself working on that stuff in bed. Many times I would fall asleep with my phone in my hand. And if I happened to wake up during the night, I would sometimes reach for my phone. Once I turned it on, my restful sleep for the night was blown. Moving my phone to another room--I keep mine in my closet--has eliminated the distraction, allowed me to actually converse meaningfully with my wife, and dramatically improved my restful sleep, allowing me to be much more focused during the day."
15. Pull back the bow before shooting.
"The more still the mind before you shoot into the activities of the day, the more precise the flight of the arrow and the successful your actions. I start my day with a simple one-minute meditation. Take 30 deep and rapid nose breaths like a bellows, inhaling and exhaling through the nose with the eyes closed. Then sit absolutely still for the next 30 seconds. Then, slowly open your eyes and start your day. This can be used repeatedly throughout the day to de-stress and get clear."
--John Douillard, author and creator of LifeSpa.com, an Ayurveda health and wellness resource on the internet
16. Wake up early.
"[I'm] usually at my home office desk at 5:30 a.m. This allows me one to one and a half hours during a weekday and two to three hours on weekends to return emails, plan for the day and do any creative work. My mind is well rested and fresh first thing in the morning so it allows to think clearly without interruption."
--Bill Green, author and founder and CEO of the Crestar Group of Companies, and CEO of LendingOne, which provides real estate bridge and rental loans to non-owner-occupied real estate investment properties
17. Read something outside your direct business interest.
"[I] read an article that is disconnected from my favorite topics. [It] challenges my thinking."
--Larry Light, a global brand revitalization expert, co-author of Six Rules for Brand Revitalization, and CEO of Arcature, a marketing consulting company
18. Never stop working.
"Whether it is networking or being on the phone or answering e-mails at the crack of dawn, to be successful you have to be what your competition is not--present, aware, engaged, and ready to do whatever it takes to earn the person's business."
--Yoni Levoritz, founder of the Levoritz Law Group
19. Practice morning gratitude.
"After swimming, I gather my thoughts and extend my arms upward being grateful for all I have received and all I am about to achieve. It is less about the exercise and more about the moment of gratitude to start the day."
--Brad Deutser, president of Deutser, which advises leaders and organizations about achieving clarity, especially in times of transition, growth or crisis
20. Make your to-do list the night before.
"A number of years ago I had an unfortunate riding accident and ended up with a severe concussion. Each morning I had a hard time getting my head organized around what to do. As president of my own business that was growing rapidly, I needed to figure out how to regain my morning mind. My coach suggested using the time before bed to quietly create a list of the following day's most important to-dos. It was quite surprising because I slept well and woke up ready to tackle the day. I haven't stopped. It seems to relax the mind so it can sleep and allow the day to start without a lot of confusion."
--Andi Simon, author, public speaker, corporate anthropologist and founder and CEO of Simon Associates Management Consultants, which helps companies use the tools of anthropology to better adapt to changing times
21. Email customers to thank them.
"I started www.therabreath.com back in 1996 when the internet was still in its infancy. I was amazed that someone in far off Norway or Sri Lanka was ordering a bottle of my mouthwash. So, I sent them a personal email, thanking them for the order and then asking them something about where they lived. As the business grew, I still made it a daily habit to check the daily orders for interesting places around the world. What amazes me is that each consumer is so thrilled that a human being actually reads their ordering information and then takes time out to send a personal email. Unfortunately, most people today, assume that everything is done by robot. Turns out that those people who receive my personal emails are my most loyal customers. Wish I had time to write to all of them."
--Harold Katz, founder of the California Breath Clinics and author of The Bad Breath Bible
22. Reject the illusion of multitasking.
"Be present for everyone. When they are in front of you, be present. On a GoToMeeting, be present. On the phone, be present. If you cannot be 100 percent focused on the people addressing you, then whatever they are sharing is not important enough for your attention in that moment. Each item you attempt to do drastically lowers your retention of the information being shared, rendering the time useless, wasting your time, and undervaluing your teammate, client, prospect, vendor, friend, family, children, [or whoever] is speaking to you."
--Joe Puthur, president of Mortgage Coach, a real estate app that helps people make confident mortgage decisions